A reader writes: “I cannot get the correct dwell time in toilets and urinals that have the automatic flush device due to the motion sensor and timer washing away the product before the prescribed 10 minutes. How do I disinfect and is there a way of disabling these devices?”

Although it is always best to be able to disinfect everything in a restroom, the reality is that certain areas are satisfactory if they are “clean” whereas other areas truly need to be disinfected. When I use the term clean I am referring to the basic definition of “free of all soils,” which may seem rather simplistic but fits the bill. The inside of a toilet or urinal should be clean but does not have to be truly disinfected so long as the interior walls of these areas are free of any foreign matter. When we talk about true disinfecting I am following the definition of “free of all pathogens” due to allowing the recommended dwell time. These areas include touch points such as toilet seats, flush handles, sink areas, latches, etc.

There may be a way of disabling the auto flush features of a toilet or urinal but I suggest you take a different tact in how you go about “cleaning” and “disinfecting” to focus on the key areas that truly require disinfecting and are not usually impacted by the auto flush sensors. Think of those areas a person using the restroom are going to touch and you should have a better idea of what requires true dwell time. I doubt if most customers are going to touch the inside of a toilet or urinal, but they will be sitting bare (unless they apply a toilet seat cover) on a toilet seat (touch point), touching hand rail (touch point), and latching/unlatching the door handle. If the restroom is equipped with touch free sensors you will not need to worry about the insides of toilets and urinals.

You need to prioritize your areas and focus on truly disinfecting the key areas that may be touched.

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net